Visiting the most famous toy store in the world
Visiting the most famous toy store in the world
New York is the city of the most imposing skyscrapers, the most exquisite pizzas, yellow taxis and an astonishing cultural diversity, it is a place full of superlatives. From the dazzling shows of Broadway to the outstanding galleries of MoMA, the charming boutiques in SoHo and the vast gastronomic offer, New York presents itself as a completely different destination with each visit.
Given its grandeur, the city is home to original and undoubtedly special places for those who explore it.
For those who are in the city, visiting the iconic FAO Schwarz store is an excellent plan. in adults and children, and even for those who do not plan to buy toys, walking through this store is a must.
Fao Schwarz is the oldest and most famous toy store in the United States. Founded by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz in 1862, his vision was to establish a wonderful and abundant emporium filled with extraordinary and unique toys from around the world.
The first store was in Baltimore. The success was immediate, opening stores in Philadelphia, Boston, and in 1870, they already opened their first store in New York, at 765 Broadway, under the name Schwarz Toy Bazaar.
Shortly after opening, it moved to New York, where it has occupied various locations over the years. The store began to be known as FAO Schwarz, as this was the way it was named in newspaper advertisements; and in 1896 it was proclaimed “Santa Claus Office in New York.”
The fantasy store became a tourist attraction filled with games and music, with doormen who looked like palace guards and a musical clock tower. It was a mandatory stop for those visiting the Big Apple, whether with children or without them. However, financial problems at the parent company and rising rental costs led to the store’s closure in 2015 after operating for several years on Fifth Avenue. It was not until November 2018 that the store finally reopened.
It is currently located in Rockefeller Center, on the ground floor of the famous 30 Rock building, home of the Top of the Rock observatory and in the same place where the spectacular Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is located every year.
From the second floor it has a view of the Rockefeller Center walkway, where the ice-skating rink is usually located in winter, and a restaurant in summer.
Despite having changed owners several times and even facing bankruptcy, Fao Schwarz has managed to preserve the spirit and magic of its beginnings.
The toy store became world famous thanks to the movie “Big”, starring Tom Hanks. In the film, the protagonist dances to “Heart and Soul” on the FAO Schwarz piano, a tactile piano that is played with the feet. For those who visit the store, you can relive this scene. While it is not the original piano, the instrument is 6 meters long with 60 keys and is reflected on the ceiling for people on the floor below to see. The replicas for sale cost $128 and there are all kinds of souvenirs to take home this fantastic souvenir.
Another feature that makes this toy store so special is that an employee dressed as a little soldier welcomes you to the store and if you wish, you can take a photo.
The premises are distributed over two floors, organized by theme. Sections include stuffed animals, Barbies, board games, dolls and cars.
The range of products is quite extensive where you can find giant stuffed animals, eye-catching sweets, an area dedicated to the adoption of “babies” (where they issue a certificate to the future father or mother of the doll), while a “nurse” “provides lessons on how to care for them.
Additionally, there is a toy grocery store where children can purchase simulated products. Equipped with small carts, a check-out counter and toy kitchen utensils, this section offers a fun and educational experience for little ones.
Of course there are also the classic Barbie dolls, FAO Schwarz brand products and a space to create a personalized Build a Bear stuffed animal. The store also offers live magic shows in addition to providing a space for custom creation of remote-control cars.
The closest subway station is 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Center (lines B, C, D, F and M) and the store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Sunday
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